This line from the Wikipedia entry for guitarist Ben Monder kind of says it all.
“Critics have found the style of Monder's solo albums difficult to describe, though they praise his creative genius.”
But if you listen to Monder's newest album, Hydra, much of which features the ethereal wordless vocals of Theo Bleckmann, there is one obvious way to describe his music: beautiful. Hydra is released Aug. 27, but you, jazz guitar fan (or just plain guitar fan), can listen to it streaming on CBC Music until that time.
Streaming until Aug. 27
Ben Monder, the backstory
Monder, who is New York-based, has been cause for excitement on the jazz and improvised music scene for the past 25 years. But if you are only discovering his music now, know that he has played with some of the very best, from Paul Motian to Lee Konitz to Kenny Wheeler. He’s played on somewhere in the neighbourhood of 120 recordings as a sideman. (Yes, you read that right, 120.) And he has four previous albums as a leader.
Ben Monder, guitar demigod
As Nate Chinen (speaking of critics) put it recently in The New York Times: “There’s an extraordinary level of detail in Ben Monder’s music, and it begins where his fingertips meet various fretboards, reeling off notes in tight and complicated whorls. 'Hydra,' his first proper solo album in eight years, will surely bolster his demigod stature among a certain breed of aspiring guitarists.”
Other players those “aspiring guitarists” are listening to likely include John Abercrombie and Bill Frisell, just to give you a sense of the master-guitarist territory that Monder inhabits.
The lineup on Hydra features (along with Bleckmann), vocalists Gian Slater and Martha Cluver, bassists John Patitucci and Skuli Sverrisson, and drummer Ted Poor.
on Aug 13, 2013